Snakes in the grass could become a common danger in Britain’s countryside if UKIP politicians get their way, a Euro-MP has warned.

North West England Liberal Democrat Chris Davies says that alien invasive species, often introduced into the wild by accident, are one of the greatest threats to the survival of animal species worldwide.

Escaped pythons, growing up to 20 feet long, that have bred in Florida’s Everglades are being held responsible for killing enormous numbers of animals.

While escaped American mink have had a devastating effect on the British countryside and threaten the survival of water voles and other native species.

The European Commission is so concerned about the effect of alien invasive species on native flora and fauna across Europe that it is drafting ideas about what should be done to try and slow their spread.

The proposals have been attacked by the UK independence Party even before they have been published.

UKIP deputy leader and North West England MEP Paul Nuttall says that the EU should not be “sticking its nose into such nonsense,” and claims that officials in Brussels want to ban the keeping of exotic pets.

But Chris Davies has accused him of speaking with a forked tongue.

He said: “Everyone knows that UKIP hates the EU, but it’s now clear that they hate our environment too.  The problem is not with the keeping of foreign animals but of whether they pose a threat to other species here by multiplying quickly if released.

 “In Britain our red squirrels have almost been killed off, native crayfish in our rivers are retreating before American crayfish, while Himalayan balsam is taking over our hedgerows and destroying our plants, yet UKIP thinks invasive species pose no problem to nature.

“If Paul Nuttall wants to avoid looking stupid he should check his facts and try to engage his brain before he opens his mouth.”

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